Obamacare to Raise Prices for Pet Health Too

Saturday, 08 Dec 2012 12:35 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Not only is Obamacare going to raise healthcare costs for consumers, but it will do the same for your pets.

A rule published on Friday by the Internal Revenue Service says a 2.3 percent “device tax” will be slapped on certain medical devices veterinarians use as a result of Obamacare, according to the Heritage Foundation.

Many companies making the devices are expected to raise prices — passing on the costs to pet owners, who already spend more than $12 billion on pet care every year, the foundation said.

While the devices used solely for veterinary purposes will not be taxed, those considered “dual use” — by both human healthcare operations and veterinary practices — will be taxed.

These “dual-use” devices, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, include examination gloves, sterile catheters, and infusion pumps, the foundation said.

The IRS rule states:
“Section 4191 [of the Internal Revenue Code] limits the definition of a taxable medical device to devices described in section 201(h) of the [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act] that are intended for humans, but does not provide that the device must be intended exclusively for humans. Under existing [Food and Drug Administration] regulations, a device intended for use exclusively in veterinary medicine is not required to be listed as a device with the FDA, whereas a device intended for use in human medicine is required to be listed as a device with the FDA even if the device may also be used in veterinary medicine.”

The device tax is expected to raise costs for consumers.

The Heritage Foundation cites a survey of 181 medical-device manufacturers, 52.5 percent of whom said they planned to “pass along some or all of the increased cost [of the tax] to our consumers.”

Among device makers in North America alone, the percentage was even higher — 58 percent — the foundation said.

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